NBC News: Los Angeles district attorney faces recall effort less than 3 months into term
A campaign to oust Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón kicked off Saturday evening as pressure mounts over his criminal justice reforms that critics claim have gone too far.
Recall advocates, including victims’ families and law enforcement officials, claim Gascón, who ran on a progressive campaign to implement sweeping change in the district attorney’s office, has prioritized criminals over victims since taking office less than three months ago.
In an emailed statement, Gascón said that “the pain and trauma of losing a loved one is immeasurable” and he “respects that some victims want me to impose the maximum punishment in their case.”
“Research shows that excessive sentencing practices have exacerbated recidivism leading to more victims of crime,” he added. “Our system of justice can’t continue to rely on policies that create more victims tomorrow simply because some victims want the maximum punishment imposed in their case today.”
Organizers planned to collect at least 20 signatures on Saturday, the amount needed to file an intent to recall, during a “victims vigil” outside the district attorney’s office in downtown L.A. They expected up to 100 people to attend, including many crime victims and Deputy District Attorney Jon Hatami, an outspoken critic of Gascón’s changes, NBC Los Angeles reported.
The recall effort needs valid signatures from at least 10 percent of registered voters in the county, or just under 600,000 people, to qualify for the ballot, according to the L.A. County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk office. Elected officials must be in office for at least 90 days before a recall effort can be officially launched. Gascón was sworn in on Dec. 7.